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British Summer Time

Larks in the park: a guide to British Summer Time's Hyde Park comedy gigs

After Kylie packs up the last of her costumes, British Summer Time’s Great Oak stage will be invaded by a bunch of jokers for three nights of open-air comedy. We help you pick the right line-up

By Ben Williams
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Monday June 22: Live at the Apollo… at Hyde Park

Comedy Stand-up

BST’s playing it safe for its opening comedy gala. The line-up features five reliably funny stand-ups, all of whom have appeared on the BBC’s flagship stand-up show, ‘Live at the Apollo’. Gravel-voiced American grump Rich Hall tops the bill (one of only four comics to have appeared on ‘LATA’ a whopping five times), and he’s being accompanied by a live band to play some country and western numbers.

Ever-energetic Essex boy Russell Kane hosts the show, and support comes from Radio 4 regular Marcus Brigstocke, Iranian-born storyteller Shappi Khorsandi and permanently pissed-off father of three Romesh Ranganathan.

Tuesday June 23: Straight-talking shockers

Comedy Stand-up

You might be thinking, ‘a village-fête, picnic-blanket vibe in the great outdoors? What a perfect way to introduce my kids to stand-up!’ Warning: we advise you leave them at home tonight. Jim Jefferies – the brash, confrontational foul-mouthed Aussie comic who’s now a big star in the States – headlines the bill, so expect near-the-knuckle anecdotes, contentious opinions and liberal smatterings of C-bombs.

There’s a bold supporting line-up, too: acid-tongued celeb-basher Katherine Ryan, challenging storyteller Glenn Wool, hard-hitting London youngster Jamali Maddix and mischievous Irish raconteur Andrew Maxwell, who takes on hosting duties.

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Wednesday June 24: Slick observationalists

Comedy Stand-up

Looking for well-crafted jokes about life-grumbles? Then look no further than Wednesday’s bill. Irish misanthrope Ed Byrne takes the top spot – he’s been moaning about life’s little annoyances on stage since his early twenties (he was nominated for the Perrier Award aged just 26) and, now into his fifth decade, he isn’t about to stop.

MC Stephen K Amos will keep a feelgood atmosphere throughout, introducing spots from Bethnal Green loudmouth Gina Yashere, 24-year-old Scot Daniel Sloss – who skilfully plays up his youthfulness – and Northern Irish nostalgia merchant Jimeoin. There are also rumours about a special guest star who might make an appearance: the sun.

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